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George Osborne’s pension reforms take another step forward today with the publication of the Taxation of Pensions Bill. It proposals are proving remarkably popular so far. The changes will allow people with private pensions to draw down and spend that money freely without tax penalties. Mr Osborne has very successfully depicted this policy as a [...]
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The British Foreign Office used to be noted for the depth of its understanding of the Arab world. It consistently produced noted Arabists who really understood and above all loved the peoples of the Middle East.  There are a few echoes of this tradition today, including the British Ambassador in Riyadh, Sir John Jenkins who [...]
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On the anniversary of the battle of Hastings, our history blogger gives an account of the battle, and puts it into a wider context of medieval Nordic wars …  As we wait for the next series of Game of Thrones, I cannot help but think I have seen it all before ­— dynastic families so [...]
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You might think it would be hard to find opposition to fracking in the city of Denton. Not only is it in Texas, the oil and gas capital in the United States – but it lies in the very crucible of the shale gas industry itself. It was close by, in Newark, that George P. [...]
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There’s a new theory that King Harold survived the Battle of Hastings and was buried, as a pensioner in his 70s, in Waltham Abbey, Essex. How wonderful if it’s true! And how wonderful if the team that found Richard III’s skeleton find Harold’s too. It seems unlikely, though. The wonderful thing about the Richard III [...]
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David Cameron is not, on any normal definition, a Eurosceptic. He likes the EU well enough as it is. Sure, he’d ideally prefer to make some tweaks to it; but I have no doubt that, if there were a referendum tomorrow, he’d vote to stay in. He and I will be on opposite sides when [...]
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Another day, another party left carrying the faint aroma of being up for rent thanks to a funding scandal. If a Labour spinner was asked to write the script themselves, they couldn’t get much better than “the Black and White Ball”, the Conservative fundraiser bringing together government ministers, an energy magnate and a small village [...]
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MPs are debating today whether to call upon the government to recognize the state of Palestine, following Sweden’s recent decision to do so. This is a sensitive and provocative subject, and I want to draw attention to one specific argument. This is the idea, as Melanie Phillips put it today, that “recognising Palestine … makes [...]
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The main broadcasters have just announced their proposals for next year’s leadership debates, including a debate between David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage. And if Cameron agrees he should be sectioned. There is a golden rule with leadership debates. It’s this: “David Cameron must not, under any circumstances, debate Nigel Farage.” There’s [...]
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A lot of Conservatives enjoyed Ukip’s successes in the Heywood and Middleton by-election last week. That’s understandable, because the Ukip near-miss in Lancashire scared the living daylights out of Labour – another 600 votes and Nigel Farage might have been dancing on Ed Miliband’s political grave. And it’s only natural for Conservatives to enjoy Labour [...]
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